BDSM Community Leader

Sometimes a BDSM Community Leader Lets Us Down

TW: DISCUSSION ON CONSENT VIOLATION, CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

NO ANSWERS TODAY

I had a nice Ask! post all ready to go for today, but then I learned about a horrible situation in Edmonton, Alberta. We often hear stories about how BDSM community leaders have violated this rule or hurt that person. In this case, however, the supposed BDSM community leader planned on sexually abusing a 5-year-old child.

DISGUST IN A BDSM COMMUNITY LEADER

I don’t know whether it’s the fact that I love Edmonton so much, the fact that this involved a (possibly fictitious – it was a police sting) child or the community reaction that is upsetting me most about this situation. Many people are, as would be expected, expressing their disgust, sadness and shame that this man was a part of their community. There are, however, some who are defending him, which is also expected.

In reading the online reactions to the situation, I am both heartened and disappointed.

When we, as a community, are faced with accusations that involve the violation of consent, we often proclaim that we believe survivors. That this is often a hollow statement comes as no real surprise to most of us, but it always leaves me feeling angry/sad/hurt/disappointed.

The Usual Suspects

EVER MOVING GOAL POSTS

There is always the very vocal group who proclaim “police report or it didn’t happen” and when a police report is filed, the tune changes to “conviction or it didn’t happen”. The size of this group is often proportional to the popularity of the accused, the more popular the accused is, the more support they get. This game of moving goal posts continues indefinitely, including “people deserve another chance” when there is a conviction, as we have seen happen in other cases.

Now, in this case, a child can not consent to anything, but it doesn’t seem to change the reaction of that very vocal group. We are getting arguments of “let’s respect his privacy and ‘no drama’ policy”; I guess talking about a BDSM community leader being arrested for attempting to molest a child is ‘drama’ now?

MINIMIZE ACCUSATIONS AND CRIMES

Then there are the minimizers – the people who refer to this as having “an extremely dark side” but who are more concerned about the people expressing their disgust – it’s libel don’t ‘cha know! They explain that the real problem here is the witch hunt, the people writing on the internet expressing how upset they are with the accused and their supporters.

PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY

Thankfully, this isn’t an argument we are seeing in the current case, but it often rears it’s nasty, victim shaming head in troubled times. The idea that survivors need to do everything in their power to not become victims, ignoring that the best way to not have victims is for people not to ignore consent! It’s rather telling that many of the players in this current situation have written about “personal responsibility” in the past.

IT’S JUST A MISUNDERSTANDING!

Finally, there are the alternate story folks, the people who come up with some totally rational explanation for what happened. “Maybe he thought he was talking to an age player” in this case, but often it’s “a simple misunderstanding”, “incomplete/poor negotiation” or “she didn’t say not to do X”. In this case, there are lots of elaborate explanations about how this BDSM community leader could not be guilty of this horrific crime. It would be humorous if it wasn’t so awful.

Now, I don’t know any of the players personally; I’m just an outsider looking in. I am ashamed of what I see because BDSM is a huge part of my life. I have a 24/7 D/s relationship, I teach workshops, I do professional kink and I write about BDSM.

TRY SOMETHING NEW

Right now, people are hurting and I empathize with them. However, let’s believe survivors. Maybe we could try not to minimize the crimes a BDSM community leader is accused of committing. Perhaps, just for a novelty, we could avoid the cover-ups, the glossing over, the attempts to hide what’s really going on.

Because what’s really going on is that there are predators in our midst and we keep letting them get away with it.

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